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Anberlin - 'Lowborn' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/6d/82/a4/anberlin-lowborn-53-1419365598.jpg Hot

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A fitting finale to Anberlin's legacy.

It is with a heavy heart that I write this as one of my all-time favorite bands is calling it a day. Whilst I'm thankful that it's been done formally with a farewell album and world tour, I feel somehow cheated that Anberlin, despite their twelve years in the business, will forever remain a cult outfit – especially in Europe. The moniker of the most underrated band is an apt one and despite their musical talent, inventiveness and willingness to push boundaries, Anberlin is one that will stay with them as their many fans talk about them in revered tones. Even the two relatively disappointing major label offerings still had enough to suggest that Anberlin was something special and then when 'Vital' was released in 2012, it confirmed a new found passion, a return to form and a reunion with producer Aaron Sprinkle that was the bands best since the halcyon days of 'Never Take Friendship Personal'.

The seventh and final studio album is a fitting epitaph to Anberlin. It doesn't simply go through the motions and offer a soporific homogenous brew of well-worn ideas and generic predictability; it gifts genuine musicianship and a keen sense of dynamics and unpredictability. It's experimental yet cohesive and taps into everything great that this band has touched on over its career.

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'We Are Destroyer' roars straight out of the trap in the crunching style of 'Self Starter' or 'Godspeed', Stephen Christian's instantly recognisable voice soaring like an eagle. The brilliantly penned 'Armageddon' chugs along incorporating haunting atmospherics and a captivating melody, whilst the Progressive almost Neon Trees-like Pop of the extraordinary 'Stranger Ways' goes someway to illustrating the band's infinite brilliance. 'Atonement' is in essence a simple song but given the full on expansive production and Christian's lilting vocals, it's one of Anberlin's classiest offerings to date and although the weird 'Dissenter' (featuring a yelling Christian during the verses) is perhaps a touch unconventional, it illustrates Anberlin's confidence in trying something new. With the brilliant straight ahead chiming Pop of 'Losing It All' and the powerful epic 'Hearing Voices', it only remains for the album to close out with the downbeat 'Harbinger'; an echoing, haunting, ambient song that closes not only the album but also the studio career of this unique and brilliant band.

Avid fans will perhaps have a tear in their eye as Christian sings his final farewells and calls time on Anberlin. With a world tour to follow – taking in these shores – there's still time to catch them live for the final emotional farewell. 'Lowborn' is a fitting finale to Anberlin's legacy and fine example of why they were held in such high regard by musicians and music fans alike.

Mike Newdeck

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